Las Vegas Sun

October 19, 2017

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TV ads question teacher tenure system

The fight over funding and reforming Nevada’s public schools came into living rooms across the state last week as a nonprofit group launched a TV ad campaign.

The ads show teachers sitting in classrooms warning the best teachers could lose their jobs under a state law that requires teacher layoffs to be based on seniority instead of performance.

“We’ve got to change the system,” the ad says. “It’s time to put students first.”

The ads are the product of a group called StudentsFirst, led by the former leader of the Washington, D.C., school system, Michelle Rhee.

The focus of the campaign is Nevada’s version of the “last in, first out,” method of teacher layoffs, said Mafara Hobson, a spokeswoman for StudentsFirst.

“We stand to lose so many of Nevada’s best teachers because we’re not looking at performance, we’re looking at how long they’ve been in the school system,” she said. “It’s a bad policy for students.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval has been working with Rhee on his education plans. She attended the State of the State address in January and was in Carson City for meetings with state leaders last week.

The ad campaign is the first for StudentsFirst, a nonprofit organization that was formed in December. The organization is working in 12 states, and has about 275,000 people who have joined online. There are about 3,000 members in Nevada.

Ads began airing May 4 on TV stations in Las Vegas and Reno and on cable channels in the state. The organization hopes to eventually expand to print and radio ads.

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